Answer with this quick meal that leaves time for seaside fun
Summer’s siren song is calling. You can hear it with every buzz of a mosquito in your ear, every frog filling the twilight with its croak and every wave gently lapping the shore. It hangs in the salty breezes waiting for you to reply. How will you answer? Will it be the sizzle of burgers on a charcoal grill? The crunch of sweet corn on the cob swimming in butter? Or, perhaps, the satisfying thwack of slicing open a ripe watermelon?
Although you may be tempted to choose chicken breasts for this straightforward recipe, thighs are the best part of the bird. Chicken thighs have more flavor, a smooth, silken tenderness and cook up juicier than breasts thanks to their higher fat content. Plus, they are a more economical cut of poultry.
This quick dinner gets you in and out of the kitchen while there’s still plenty of daylight to head out on your boat for a sunset cruise, walk the beach in search of shark teeth or splurge at a nearby snow cone stand — those simple summer pleasures that remind you why you call the coast home.
Pecan Crusted Chicken
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
4 cups pecan pieces
2 cups milk
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1⁄4 cup corn oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Create a breading station. First, combine the flour and Parmesan cheese in a shallow bowl. In a food processor, pulse pecans until finely chopped. Transfer to a shallow bowl. Whisk together eggs and milk in a third shallow bowl. Set aside.
Cover a cutting board with plastic wrap and place chicken thighs on board. Top with a layer of plastic wrap and seal over the edge of the board. Pound each thigh into an even 1⁄4-inch thickness. Season chicken with salt and freshly ground pepper. Then, coat each piece with the flour-Parmesan mixture, followed by the egg wash and the crushed pecans, shaking off excess breading before moving to the next bowl. Place breaded chicken on a sheet pan or plate lined with parchment paper.
Pour oil into a large skillet and preheat over medium heat. Pan fry each thigh until golden brown and cooked through, about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer to a plate lined with paper towels. Serve by topping it with watermelon mango pico de gallo.
Watermelon Mango Pico De Gallo
2 1⁄2 cups seedless watermelon, diced
1 cup mango, diced
2 jalapeños, seeded and minced
1⁄4 cup red onion, diced
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro leaves, minced
1 lime, juiced
1⁄2 teaspoon salt, or more to taste
In a large bowl, combine watermelon, mango, jalapeño, onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt, to taste. Serve immediately.